Abstract: 

Exploring the cyber-physical continuum in education What lies in the space where the cyber world and physical world converge? A spectrum of blended augmented experiences and a fount of new opportunities for educational practice.  The success of this projected convergence depends on the availability of affordable virtual reality hardware, such as wearable haptic and movement tracking devices, and the use of engaging instructional approaches such as experiential learning, gamification and problem-based learning. This issue of eLearning Papers features a collection of articles that highlight these approaches and their potential for the development of better learning experiences. In the realm of 3D virtual worlds, we see in the first paper an example of how a Multiuser Virtual Environment (MUVE) or 3D virtual world can be used to enhance how science is taught in classrooms by replicating physical spaces and incorporating the 3D virtual world with the existing learning management system. Moving along the cyber physical continuum, researchers from Greece suggest the use of augmented reality to provide realistic visualizations of physical phenomena so as to combat common misconceptions and promote scientific knowledge. Bringing innovative technology to the classroom, however, requires an investment of time, energy, and resources that can be prohibitive. Moreover, the constant emergence of new hardware, interfaces and applications highlights the importance of the Maker Movement. The Do-It-Yourself mentality has a high pedagogical potential in conjunction with the collaborative spirit in communities of practice. A practical manifestation of this mentality can found in another paper; the potential of distributed networks for collaborative teaching becomes even more apparent in the Bring Your Own Device for Learning (BYOD4L) open learning initiative. Even when high-end technology tools are not available, games and gamification can be effective instructional methods to transform learning into an enhanced practice-oriented experience. In a project management e-learning course in Finland, business students collaborated with entrepreneurs and competed in solving authentic entrepreneurial challenges. Playing games led to the effective acquisition of management skills. Finally, a case study from UK provides insights on how web-based tools can be used to foster arts students’ online creativity. The use of virtual worlds for learning today is richer and more diverse than what we anticipated only a few years ago.

<p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;"><strong>Exploring the cyber-physical continuum in education</strong></p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">What lies in the space where the cyber world and physical world converge? A spectrum of blended augmented experiences and a fount of new opportunities for educational practice.&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">The success of this projected convergence depends on the availability of affordable virtual reality hardware, such as wearable haptic and movement tracking devices, and the use of engaging instructional approaches such as experiential learning,&nbsp;<strong>gamification&nbsp;</strong>and problem-based learning.</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">This issue of eLearning Papers features a collection of articles that highlight these approaches and their potential for the development of better learning experiences.</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">In the realm of&nbsp;<strong>3D virtual worlds</strong>, we see in the first paper an example of how a&nbsp;<strong>Multiuser Virtual Environment (MUVE)</strong>&nbsp;or 3D virtual world can be used to enhance how science is taught in classrooms by&nbsp;<strong>replicating physical spaces</strong>&nbsp;and incorporating the 3D virtual world with the existing&nbsp;<strong>learning management system</strong>. Moving along the cyber physical continuum, researchers from Greece suggest the use of augmented reality to provide realistic visualizations of physical phenomena so as to combat common misconceptions and promote scientific knowledge.</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">Bringing innovative technology to the classroom, however, requires an investment of time, energy, and resources that can be prohibitive. Moreover, the constant&nbsp;<strong>emergence of new hardware, interfaces and applications</strong>&nbsp;highlights the importance of the&nbsp;<strong>Maker Movement</strong>.&nbsp;The&nbsp;<strong>Do-It-Yourself mentality</strong>&nbsp;has a high pedagogical potential in conjunction with the collaborative spirit in communities of practice.</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">A practical manifestation of this mentality can found in another paper; the potential of distributed networks for collaborative teaching becomes even more apparent in the&nbsp;<strong>Bring Your Own Device for Learning (BYOD4L)</strong>&nbsp;open learning initiative. Even when high-end technology tools are not available,&nbsp;<strong>games and gamification</strong>&nbsp;can be effective instructional methods to transform learning into an enhanced practice-oriented experience. In a project management&nbsp;<strong>e-learning course in Finland</strong>, business students collaborated with entrepreneurs and competed in solving authentic entrepreneurial challenges. Playing games led to the effective acquisition of management skills.</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">&nbsp;</p><p style="font-style: normal; font-family: Verdana, Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; text-align: justify;">Finally, a case study from UK provides insights on how&nbsp;<strong>web-based tools</strong>&nbsp;can be used to foster arts students’ online creativity. The use of virtual worlds for learning today is richer and more diverse than what we anticipated only a few years ago.</p>


ePaper Articles: 

  • Challenges from implementing blended learning in a 3D multiuser virtual environment
  • The Maker Movement. Implications of new digital gadgets, fabrication tools and spaces for creative learning and teaching
  • Using augmented reality for the reformation of learners’ misconceptions in science education
  • E-learning meets game-based learning (GBL) – transfer of GBL research results in the e-learning project management course
  • Facilitators as co-learners in a collaborative open course for teachers and students in higher education
  • Gamification and working life cooperation in an e-learning environment
Editorial Number: 
39
eLearning Authors: 
Tapio Koskinen
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